From vibrant art exhibitions to powerful theatrical performances, events around town throughout the month of February celebrate Black history in San Antonio and beyond. Dive into some of our city’s lesser-known history and experience the breadth of contemporary art being created and performed by local Black artists in the selection of Black History Month events below.
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San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum
The Negro Motorist Green Book, a guidebook for Black American cross-country travelers published from 1936 to 1966, was updated annually by editors Victor H. Green, a Harlem-based postal carrier, and his wife Alma. The Green Book provided information about Black-friendly hotels, restaurants and service stations, as well as designated routes to avoid areas Black Americans were likely to face discrimination, price gouging, violence and “sundown towns.”
This year, to commemorate Black History Month, the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum, along with Texas A&M University-San Antonio students, will offer a tour of the 12 local sites deemed by Victor and Alma Green as safe for black motorists in the Green Book. The tour takes place Feb. 22 and is free with registration on the SAAACAM website.
SAAACAM also offers the Black History River Tour, a 100-minute cruise highlighting San Antonio’s Black history. The tour takes place on Feb. 11 and begins at the organization’s headquarters at La Villita. Tickets are available on their website.
Melaneyes Media will host an online screening of Walk on the River: A Black History of the Alamo City on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. The two-part documentary series explores the Black experience in San Antonio from the Battle of the Alamo and Juneteenth to integration and the legal end of Jim Crow laws. Tickets for the online screening are pay-what-you-can and available here.
Then on Saturday, Feb. 18, join Melaneyes Media co-founder Born Logic Allah for a bus tour of San Antonio’s East Side based on the documentary.
“As the city grows and changes, the East Side, historically considered the Black side of town, becomes more gentrified,” said Allah. “As historical locations and landmarks are being demolished or forgotten — we, along with other movements and organizations in the city — are doing our best to help preserve our own history and tell our own story.”
Tickets for the bus tour are available here.
Presented by The Public Theater of San Antonio, Nina Simone: Four Women is set on Sept. 16, 1963, the day after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four young Black girls.
“Nina Simone: Four Women is not like any other play I have directed, and I am so excited to bring it to life in San Antonio,” said director Ann James. “The blending of the characters’ lives and the background of social change will take the audience on a remarkable journey.”
Performances take place Jan. 27-29, Feb. 2-5, and Feb. 10-12 at The San Pedro Playhouse. For showtimes and tickets, visit The Public Theater’s website.
Written by August Wilson and directed by Antoinette F. Winstead, Fences follows Troy Maxson, a former star of the Negro baseball leagues, who now works as a garbage man. Excluded from the major leagues during his prime, Troy’s circumstances take a toll on his family, in particular his son, who as a young adult aspires to be a Major League baseball player. Wilson’s Fences opened on Broadway in 1987 and won a Pulitzer Prize, a Tony award and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best play of the year. Fences is just one of Wilson’s many works portraying the Black American experience throughout the 20th century, each piece tackling a different decade.
“Fences has been a joy to bring to the stage,” said Jimmy Moore, The Classic Theatre’s producing artistic director. “[It’s] a beautiful story with top-notch local talent and an evocative design.”
Performances run from Feb. 9-26 at the Little Carver Theatre. Find showtimes and tickets on the Classic Theatre website.
Carver Community Cultural Center
In addition to Fences, the Carver Community Cultural Center will host the North Carolina-based Dedicated Men of Zion — Anthony Daniels, Antwan Daniels, Dexter Weaver and Marcus Sugg — when they bring their gospel soul to the Jo Long Theatre on Feb. 4. Tickets are available on The Carver’s website.
On view in the Carver Gallery through Feb. 17, exhibitions by San Antonio-based artists Maverick Pascal and Timothy Lister include portraits of important Black historical figures. Admission to the gallery is free.
Slab Cinema Arthouse
Slab Cinema Arthouse presents its second installment of Beautifully Black Artists of San Antonio, an exhibition bringing together cross-generational artists in a unique setting. Featured artists include Lenard Brown, Kwanzaa Edwards, Alain Gakwaya, Claudette Hopkins, Anathalia Jolie Marc-Charles, Connor McLinn and Maverick Pascal. The opening reception on Feb 3. from 6-9 p.m. will feature a live musical performance by Sidlo & Stewart. The free exhibition runs through Feb. 22.
City of San Antonio
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, an evening of music and voices hosted by San Antonio Poet Laureate Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, will take place in the Culture Commons Gallery at Plaza de Armas on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.
The gallery is currently hosting the exhibition Between Yesterday & Tomorrow: Perspectives from Black Contemporary Artists of San Antonio, curated by Barbara Felix. Works by artists including Carmen Cartiness Johnson, Kaldric Dow, Anthony Francis, Wardell Picquet, and Angela Weddle touch on themes of Black history and identity, family dynamics, social connections, personal experience, spirituality and resilience.
For those interested in tracing their roots, the Carver Library is hosting an African American Genealogy workshop on Feb. 4 at 1:15 p.m. Attendees will learn what databases, books and resources can help them uncover their family history.
For the library’s annual Black Luv Film Showcase, and just in time for Valentine’s Day, the San Antonio Black International Film Festival presents You’ve Matched, winner of Best Narrative Short in 2022. The film, directed by Atlanta’s Justin Poage, explores the world of online dating. Viewers are asked to share their own online dating experiences after the screening in a “reel-talk” discussion. Catch the movie on Feb. 12 at 3 p.m.
On Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the San Antonio African American Book Festival returns to the Carver Library and Second Baptist Church Community Center for a day of activities and discussions celebrating Black writers.